Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


The purpose of this exploratory/descriptive study was to explore the possible relationship between attachment styles of individuals in romantic relationships during older adolescents. The research question that guided this research is: Is there an association between the individual attachment style of each partner in a romantic relationship? A flexible methods approach of data collection, with a standardized data collection instrument was used to procure the necessary data for this independent research. The sample of this study was purposive and a snowball strategy was used in finding participants. The sample consisted of 19 couples (38 individuals); the inclusionary/exclusionary criteria for the sample being: 1) both partners of the coupled relationship had to respond to be included in the study, 2) each participant had to be between the ages of 18-23, and 3) the couple participating had to have been together for at least three months. The findings reveal that an overwhelming majority of participants in this study can be classified as having a secure attachment style, and as a result, the majority of couples appear to have the same attachment style as their partner. The findings of this study indicate that further research on the topic of attachment and couples is needed. Primarily only one attachment style was represented in this study, which leaves much to be discovered through future research about the dynamics in and among couples with different and differing attachment styles. Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969) can be useful in virtually every modality of social work practice, as every human has the need to attach, and we all experience life through our attachment styles and relationships. Only through understanding our insecure attachment tendencies may we begin to work to change them.


iv, 54 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 44-46).